Short History of Aveyron
Menhir du Serres (Belmont)
Bronze Age was the main period when both stone and copper was
used by man.
About 2200 B.C. bronze proved to be most evident with numerous
finds of daggers, axes, bracelets and hairpins. It was during
this period that the Statue of the Lady of Saint Sernin-sur-Rance
was discovered in the village by the same name. This stone statue
points to the spiritual motivation, which was felt by the early
has more megaliths than have been found elsewhere. Just as in
Brittany, people question the significance of these gigantic stone
blocks and how they could have been produced by Bronze Age man.
The tumuli, sometimes constructed round dolmens, show that there
was a strong community feeling because they are ancestral graves.
They continued to be used up to the Merovingian period c. 500-750
menhir is a monolith. The word monolith comes from the Greek words mono
meaning one and litho meaning stone. These tall erect stones represent
the whole of the human body and are sculptured and occasionally engraved.
Their sizes vary between 75 cm and 5.5 m and were chosen for their shape.
After carving they were sometimes dragged for many kilometres before
These long stones were erected in long lines or circles on isolated
sites and were places of worship, memorials or homage. Like graves,
menhirs and megaliths played an important part in the memorial ceremonies
of the ancestors. Accentuated breasts and necklaces symbolised femininity.
This type of monument was often called the goddess-mother and refered
to pro-oriental divinity.
It is only after the Bronze Age that the menhirs from central France
were of both sexes. Over the centuries some of the menhirs became objects
of cult worship. According to legend a menhir would have cosmic and
earthly energy. Infertile women would sit astride such a menhir hoping
to cure their problems with the waves from these energies.
The tiny village of St. Crepin , between Saint Sernin-sur-Rance and
Lacaune, houses a collection of a dozen menhirs in a small room of the
former presbytery. These date back to the Bronze Age and are the work
of the people who lived in the mountains of Lacaune and in Aveyron.
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